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Science Action-BOOK 5

Science Action-BOOK 5

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Published by: saisssms9116 on Oct 12, 2009
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06/30/2013

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 SCIENCE IN ACTIONM. A. PARASNISBOOK 5First Published 1976PREFACEDoing an experiment is funAnd is the best way to learn
 
The series ‘Science in Action’is written specially to help children in the age groupeight to thirteen years to have first hand experience in science. It is designed so as to helpthe classroom teacher make the learning of science an enjoyable and rewardingexperience for herself/himself as well as for her/his class. Interested parents could alsoeasily use the series to help their children to do science at home. Enthusiastic childrencould even use it on their own at home and school.The series consists of five books: Book I for class four (age 8-9 years), Book II for class five (age 9-10 years), Book III for class six (age 10-11 years), Book IV for classseven (age 11-12 years) and Book V for class eight (age 12-13 years). It is not designedto cover the syllabus of any particular school system or state but, rather, to uncover alittle part of the fascinating world of science, taking into consideration the average mentaland physical capabilities of the respective age groups.Essentially these are books of science activities. These typical activities, selected fromvarious areas of science, use
readily available
and
 Inexpensive materials
like jam andmilk bottles, coffee tins, paper cartons, thread, string, wire, paper clips and pins, rubber  bands, balloons, drinking straws, etc. Many classic experiments, described in text booksunchanged for generations, have been performed more interestingly and instructively.Many more have been added. Each activity has been tried and tested out, so to say, in the
 field.
They all involve experimentation resulting in experience with important scientific principles. The involvement is qualitative and thus maintains a high level of interest.These books are the culmination of a decade of involvement in school education (onthe campus of the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur) into which I was initiated andinducted by the Institute’s first Director, Dr P K Kelkar. It was his faith in the tremendous potential of children and his keen insight into the way they learn which 1 made him starta school on the campus under IIT/K Administration. The School had complete freedomto try out new methods in teaching and learning. It was at the IIT/K Campus School thatmany of the seeds of the present series were sown. It was the encouraging response fromchildren and teachers of that school that gave me the enthusiasm to complete the work.Thanks are due to the Education Development Centre, IIT/K, funded by NCSE/NCERT, for grants which have supported this venture and have made it possiblefor each and every activity in this series to be actually tested out.For books such as these good illustrations are essential. They save many words of description and are a special attraction for the children. I would like to record myappreciation for the patient and painstaking work done on illustrations by Mr. A C Joshiof the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT, Kanpur.My husband, Dr Arawind S Parasnis, Professor of Physics, IIT, Kanpur, has read themanuscript critically and made innumerable valuable suggestions. He and my sons,Kaushik and Gautam, have provided that understanding cooperation without which Icould not have enjoyed writing the series. My sons were often the guinea pigs for testingout these activities.The series is dedicated to children—the mini-scientists—and their teachers. If youhave enjoyed the books, do let me know along with corrections and comments, if any.Meera A. Parasnis618 IIT Campus
 
Kanpur 208 016INTRODUCTIONScience today plays a significant and ever-increasing role in the social and economiclife of ordinary man. The impact of scientific and technological progress not only has permeated urban and suburban life but also is fast penetrating into remote villages. Newvarieties of seeds, the tractor, the transistor radio and the antibiotics have reached thefarthest corners of our country. Many villages have been electrified. Satellite InstructionTelevision Experiment (SITE) has already taken television to a number of villages.Training in science is essential to the improvement of health and living conditions of our  people and to the promotion of agriculture and industry. It is, therefore, increasinglyimportant for everybody to be literate in science. This need embraces all age-levels, altsocio-economic levels and all intelligence levels. However, it is for the children of today,the arbiters of our fate tomorrow, that the need is the greatest. Unless we give our children scientific schooling we cannot hope for a bright future for our country.Till very recently, no one studied science unless one entered middle/high school.Some schools did teach a few lessons about birds and flowers. All that was available wasa few books of nature stories and study.Since Independence the field of science education has undergone a big change. Mostof the changes stem from a dual attempt. First, there has been an increase in the quantityof subject matter taught. Second, there has been an attempt at re-establishing the classlevels at which various topics would be taught: a part of what was done in high school isnow sought to be done in the middle school and, in the same way, a part of what wasdone in the middle school is sought to be handed over to the primary school.However, students are doing more reading in science. They are reading about science but not doing science. This is like attempting to teach a person to swim by having himread the best books on swimming rather than plunge into water.In short, the science programme in our schools is still around the text books. Science isviewed by teachers (and consequently by children) as a body of facts and a set of answers, absolute and immutable, which explain the universe. Often these explanationscome in the form of one word or phrase taught by the teacher and learnt by heart by thetaught. When a phenomenon is demonstrated, the children simply associate the questionsabout the phenomenon with the word or phrase without understanding conceptually theinteractions involved. Natural phenomena are used not as stimuli to regenerative thinkingand to the spirit of discovery but merely as examples of or adjuncts to facts already presented. Thus a bug floating on water is an example of surface tension. A ship, thoughmade of steel, floating on the sea is an example of Archimedes’ principle. The horse pulling the cart and the cart pulling the horse is an example of Newton’s law of reaction.Can we blame the child?This inevitably helps erect a barrier between the child and science. This barrier must be broken. When such barriers are broken science becomes not only interesting but also a part of the child’s thinking. This requires a child’s active involvement in his ownlearning. Experimenting is an excellent chance to stimulate thinking. There is joy andexcitement in working with one’s own hands for man is basically a builder. Children

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